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Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg aims for top five finish at Mapfre Palma Vela

April 20, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The Gazprom sponsored Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec from the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg had another chance to race in excellent race conditions in Bay of Palma, with winds once again above 15 knots.

Mapfre PalmaVela 2012 - Image Credit MartinezStudio

Mapfre PalmaVela 2012 - Image Credit MartinezStudio

Day two finished with a 6th place in Race 3, followed by a 7th position in Race 4.  The first race registered excellent boat speed from the team aboard Bronenosec who led the competing Swan 60, Emma from Germany round the race track until the final leg into the finish line.

In the second race of the day, the Russian / Italian team unfortunately became becalmed by a patch of limited wind which pulled the Swan 60 back from 20 seconds to be behind by 4 minutes, showing in their final placing.

Tomasso Chieffi, with 17 previous World Championship titles to his name, has a lot of professional knowledge to provide the team with this campaign and is committed to working on a top five overall result for the end of the event.

“Today we had a good first race leading Emma all the way and only just lost it at the end, so I do think we as a team have the capability to pull back to 5th overall by the last day.  It is always a challenge at the start of a new campaign when racing against similar yachts that have a few more seasons of experience racing as a set team than ourselves.  Personally I think we were sailing a lot better in many aspects compared to yesterday and I am pleased to have another two solid races on the score board, we are definitely improving each time we race together and the morning debriefs are helping us to correct any mistakes we pick up on”.

Only a matter of  6 points separates positions 4th to 7th on the leader board, Swan 60, Bronenosec is now 7th overall in the competitive Mini Maxi fleet. She sits a mere 1 point behind 6th place and 2.5 points behind 5th position and is therefore in a strong position to pull back into the top 5.

The team are looking forward to lighter airs tomorrow for the long distance race.  This will be a complete change in racing style for the helm, Vladimir Liubomirov, and will provide both the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg Commodore as well as his fellow race crew with a new dimension to race against the International sailing stars.

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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 7 – De Lage Landen wins

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Overnight, on the Day 7 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, when the leading team decided to forego possible Scoring Gate points in favour of an inshore course as well as stronger winds, the Gold Coast Australia team has taken the lead.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit Abner KingmanonEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

With the ten teams now one week into the 5,500-mile leg from California to New York via the Panama Canal, Richard Hewson and his team are hoping their decision will pay dividends in the long term as they close in on the finish line of Race 10.

Skipper of Gold Coast Australia, Richard Hewson, said his team opted for a “bold move” yesterday to sail closer to the shore than any other yacht in the fleet. “The crew worked well today and sailed the boat very well in the light conditions trying to improve our position on the leader board,” he said. For the moment, the hard work has paid off and the team has now moved into pole position.

Out in front, the team on Gold Coast Australia has been enjoying the abundant sea life in the area. “The wildlife close to the Mexican coast is amazing and today we have seen numerous groups of dolphin, a turtle, a pod of whales, flying fish, squid and schools of large pelagic fish,” Richard said.

Yesterday Richard and his team voted to disregard the Scoring Gate in favour of sailing their own course in order to focus on the bigger picture.

“As we approached the Scoring Gate it appeared to be already full with De Lage Landen, Qingdao and Welcome to Yorkshire all about to cross…It will be interesting to view the results over the next few days to see if our inshore tactics pay off,” Richard added.

Stuart Jackson and his crew on De Lage Landen were the first to reach the Scoring Gate at 22:56:56 UTC last night to claim the maximum three points on offer to the first team to cross the line between 24 N and 113 50 W and 24 N and 113 W.

Welcome to Yorkshire was the second team through the Scoring Gate at 00:07:41 this morning, just over an hour after the Dutch team, to secure two points. Qingdao managed to clinch the remaining point on offer by reaching the Scoring Gate third at 00:29:00.

As the Scoring Gate is not a compulsory mark of the course some teams opted to forego the additional points on offer in order to stay in the narrow corridor of inshore wind in the hope of securing a better overall result.

Despite being pipped to the maximum Scoring Gate points by De Lage Landen, Rupert Dean on Welcome to Yorkshire reports that its been “one of those halcyon days” for his team with blue skies, sunshine, warm weather and pleasant downwind sailing conditions. He reports smiles all round as Welcome to Yorkshire sails on “a magic carpet flat sea”.

The last 48 hours have proved very tense on Welcome to Yorkshire, as the team battled to secure valuable points, and Rupert reports that the added pressure has focused his team no end.

In order to maximise their chances of securing the extra points, the team specialised several roles on board as they approached the Scoring Gate in a close battle with De Lage Landen and Qingdao.

“Pinpoint helming, zealous trimming, perfectly executed gybes and peels of our kites have all made their mark and everyone on board has reason to be proud of their contribution to our success,” Rupert said.

Qingdao’s efforts to reach the Scoring Gate were hampered by damage to the team’s medium weight spinnaker. Skipper Ian Conchie reports that he was called on deck to find the foot of the sail had caught on the pulpit resulting in a five-metre rip across the bottom.

The team quickly got the damaged sail down and hoisted their lightweight, in order to fix the torn sail with Dacron sticky tape.

“We continued to head for the gate but couldn’t quite go fast enough to beat De Lage Landen and Welcome to Yorkshire,” Ian said.

On Geraldton Western Australia, Juan Coetzer and his team just missed out on the Scoring Gate points but they report that they had Qingdao in their sights.

“Well done Qingdao, you have managed this time, but we have a visual on you and my crew is focused,” Juan said. He adds that the light winds have allowed for some maintenance to be carried out and the crew are taking good care of the 68-foot yacht that has become their home as they race 40,000 miles around the world.

For Stuart Jackson and his team on De Lage Landen, crossing the Scoring Gate was “a fairly sedate affair” despite being first and claiming the maximum three points on offer.

The team had little more than five or six knots of boat speed all day, as they gybed their way towards Panama whilst managing to keep challenges from Welcome to Yorkshire and Qingdao at bay.

“The points will be very welcome after our tough race on Leg 6 but now we need to concentrate on maintaining our position and catching those who have sailed a different course around the Scoring Gate,” Stuart said.

New York is another team to sail a course outside the non-compulsory Scoring Gate, and has opted to sail inshore of the rest of the fleet. Currently in second place, behind Gold Coast Australia, Gareth Glover and his team will be hoping that their easterly tactics will keep them at the front of the fleet.

“Being more inshore than the rest of the fleet we sacrificed any chance of any Scoring Gate points, We’re now working on the overall plan to get us a top-three finish,” Gareth said.

“We hope in the next few days that our position closer to land will give us a better chance of more wind than the teams further offshore but it may come down to the luck of the gods who gets the wind,” he added.

Gareth reports that his team has cross-gybed with Visit Finland and has also been joined by a pod of whales, sunfish and dolphins as they head south.

On Visit Finland, Olly Osborne reports that his team has enjoyed a “great day’s sailing” and he reflects that it is hard to believe it is the same ocean that gave the fleet such a battering so recently.

“We were treated to a show of all sorts of marine life as we tracked down the steep contours of the Continental Ledge this afternoon, including a large group of sperm whales which came close up to the boat as we ghosted along beneath our lightweight spinnaker,” Olly said.

“I was concerned that we might hit one at first, but at the last minute they dived beneath us and disappeared with their small calves close by them. Such an encounter with these massive creatures is probably very rare and I am sure it will be one of the highlights of the journey for a lot of us,” Olly said.

Olly is another of the skippers who has opted for the inshore route sacrificing a shot at the extra mid-race points on offer. “We’re hoping that our decision to forego a run at the scoring gate for a more inshore route will pay off, and we’re hoping to make the best use of the coastal winds,” he said.

Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital are battling to make up ground after dealing with monumental spinnaker wraps.

Flavio Zamboni on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital sais his team has been doing a lot of downwind work including kite peels for the last 24 hours to keep the boat moving at the best possible speed and angle in very light airs. The team passed through the Scoring Gate, but failed to pick up any points as they had all being claimed by the time they reached it.

With more of the same weather forecast over the next few days, Flavio said his team is focused on trying to avoid windless patches.

On Singapore, Ben Bowley and his team spent over ten hours trying to coax down their wrapped kite using the full range of “pulling, tugging, gybing, teasing, swearing, sweating and tears” to try to get the vast sail free of the rigging.

Even four hours of nocturnal rig acrobatics failed to release the monster wrap, but finally the team managed to wrestle the “big white snake” back onto the deck.

“The whole episode has really helped to forge a strong, determined, harmonious and good-humored team out of a crew of two watches. I am immensely impressed with every single person’s efforts over the last 24 hours and feel that as a unit, we are better prepared for overcoming future challenges that are bound to present themselves further down the track,” Ben said.

“We have inevitably lost much ground to our competitors and I had hoped to have been further inshore by this stage of the race but the good news is that we are moving swiftly again in the right direction,” Ben added.

Mark Light and his team on Derry-Londonderry have also experienced a testing 24 hours. This morning Mark summed it up as the team’s “most frustrating day of the race so far”.

Despite lying in a healthy second place yesterday with high hopes of securing Scoring Gate points, the team emerged from Stealth Mode to discover they’d lost the wind in the central patch they occupied while the teams to the west and the east pulled ahead.

“We have sailed well and haven’t done anything wrong but our tactics have proven to be less than satisfactory. We are having to rethink our game plan and concentrate even harder on the job of clawing our way back up the fleet once again,” Mark said.

“Luckily for us, this is something that we are very used to and also very good at. With morale and teamwork very good on board we are still thinking of a successful finish to this race but a little shove in the right direction from Mother Nature would be a great help to us and would also be massively appreciated at this stage in the proceedings!” Mark added.

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The number of J-Class Superyachts attending the UK Regattas revised

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Coming last of the four Js at this year´s St Barths Regatta, the 42m sailing yacht Hanuman was unfortunately withdrawn from the 2012 UK regattas. Due to the owner´s business elsewhere in June, the 130ft charter yacht Endeavour cannot attend the Falmouth Regatta either, so only four yachts are expected to compete and not the six as being planned for.

J-Class Superyachts

J-Class Superyachts

Even though this is a big disappointment, four of these massive yachts sailing in Falmouth bay will still offer a spectacular sight – not to be missed.

The 39m superyacht Velsheda is due to arrive in Falmouth within seven days. Her support ship MY Bystander has already arrived. The 41.55m charter yacht Ranger will very shortly berth in Ocean Village, Southampton, before repositioning to Falmouth by early June. The new 40m yacht Rainbow, launched just before Christmas 2011, is now on sail trials in Holland in preparation for the event. She will be supported by the 57 metre ship, MV Holland. The 43.4m sailing yacht Lionheart is also scheduled to arrive in Falmouth shortly.

The Js are planning to leave at the end of the Falmouth event, and reposition at Solent Refit, in preparation for the Solent regattas. The luxury yacht Endeavour is currently still planning to compete, together with the other four yachts, making a fleet of five.

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The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team TP52 yacht making her debut at the Mapfre Palma Vela

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s brand new sailing yacht TP52 made her debut this morning on the opening day of the Mapfre Palma Vela. The fresh breeze of more than 20 knots and the big swell created quite challenging conditions for the TP52 yacht, designed by Botín.

The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s TP52 yacht

The new Audi Azzurra Sailing Team´s TP52 yacht - Photo by Azzurra/Jesus Renedo

Tough conditions are certainly not ideal for a recently-launched yacht but this forms part of the game in sailing and racing. The stress test on the new Azzurra did not put into evidence any significant problems but caused merely some minor damages to the numerous pieces of sophisticated hardware that make up a top-level racing yacht such as the latest generation TP52’s. The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team is taking part in PalmaVela precisely because the TP52 Class chose this as a training and tune up event in view of the 52 Sailing Series that kicks off in May in Barcelona. The main aim is to learn and develop the boat and not so much the results in each race.

“It was a useful day – confirmed strategist Vasco Vascotto – we came here exactly for that reason. Today we had a number of failures, something that is absolutely normal for a boat that has been just launched, and we are happy to be able to remedy now and not run the risk to do it later on, during the proper circuit. Having said that, we still need to get the feeling of the new boat, we made more than one error today and one never stops improving.”

The day’s two races were won, respectively, by Ran and Quantum, while Azzurra TP52 yacht by Audi finished the day in third place, in a fleet unfortunately small in numbers, with four yachts competing, but with a technical and competitive level clearly surpassing the top-notch standards set in the previous season.

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Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta: Day 1 – Consistent Results for Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg´s Swan 60 yacht Bronenosec

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The first day of the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta brought consistent results for the Mini Maxi Class Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec, belonging to the Russia´s Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg. It is the first official race for the new Bronenosec yacht and her team.

Bronenosec yacht competing in the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta

Bronenosec yacht competing in the Mapfre Palma Vela Regatta Credit: MartinezStudio.es

With 1,000 sailors taking part in this year’s regatta, some of the world’s leading sailing talent can be found on the race track and coupled with strong winds of 24 to 25 knots provided a good challenge for the Swan 60 by Nautor Swan to launch into her first campaign.

The cosmopolitan team worked consistently together in order to generate a 5th place in Race One and then followed on consistently with a 6th place in Race Two.

Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec

Swan 60 sailing yacht Bronenosec Credit: MartinezStudio.es

Skipper, Tomasso Chieffi, is positive commenting on the Swan 60 yacht Bronenosec’s performance today: “The team worked in a very efficient manner today. We are still tweaking the Swan 60 due to it being a new race boat this season and are working to maintain our consistent standard across all wind conditions.  Our overall boat speed is similar to that of Swan 60 yacht Emma who are currently in 3rd place overall so we have some good competition over the next couple of days to look forward to and will be aiming to improve upon our results.”

The team returned to Palma all smiling and helm, Vladimir Liubomirov also Commodore at the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg was congratulated on return to shore for his performance at the wheel in strong winds. With only one ripped spinnaker, there was limited boat repair activity post racing. The Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg’s entry now sits 5th overall in the Mini Maxi Class with racing scheduled daily until April 21st.

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TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

Multi One Design SA, promoter of the MOD70 circuit, together with the Multi One Attitude Foundation as well as TBS are all pleased to reveal their fascinating new eco-friendly and ethically committed collaboration, which has been signed to span the next two years from 2012-2014. Top clothing and footwear brand TBS have signed an agreement to create and distribute three eco designed exclusive themed collections.

TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

TBS partners with the MOD70 circuit and the Multi One Attitude Foundation

Three ‘responsible’ collections:

The TBS for MULTI ONE CHAMPIONSHIP collection will equip the organization and will encompass a line of products dedicated to the various events on the circuit comprising KRYS OCEAN RACE, the MOD70 European Tour and the Ocean World Tour. These clothes will be also be sold in keynote positions in the race villages at Multi One Championship events and via internet.

The TBS for RACE FOR WATER by the Multi One Attitude Foundation collection will be distributed on the racing circuit, but also particulary in dedicated areas within TBS stores through its sales network and on the internet. Profits from the sale of this collection will be used to develop outreach initiatives, education and act on two main aims of the Foundation, namely preservation of the ocean by countering plastics pollution, and freshwater preservation by optimising water resources management.

And the lifestyle collection, directly drawn from these two collections, will also be designed and delivered by TBS.

The Living Sea: a philosophy applied to products today

For over 30 years, the core values that have underpinned the TBS brand have remained the same: to maintain a high level of quality, performance and technical specification, all embodied by original designs. All TBS footwear and apparel collections are researched, designed and developed in line with these fundamental values. The brand will complement the Foundation’s work and image seeking to develop products and production methods that are more sustainable and further enhance their commitments to ethical and environmental values. With the three collections, TBS is committed to working in eco-friendly, creative and innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact.

Through this approach, TBS wants to highlight more than ever it’s affinity for the Ocean and sailing world. The strap line “Living Sea”, now takes on an even more relevant meaning.

More than branded product lines, an eco friendly collaboration.

Eric Lairet, Director General of the brand TBS: “It’s an incredibly natural alliance! For over 30 years the history of TBS has been written around the nautical world. We have also been fortunate to be joined by the most renowned skippers … And even today! TBS’ endorsement continues with Michel Desjoyeaux. More than signature “products”, this partnership demonstrates our willingness to take on, across our operations, the major environmental challenges that are ocean conservation and the fight to reduce water footprint. We know that we can all make more efforts in this area! TBS is committed through the creation of eco-designed lines. TBS absolute dream for the future? To become a recognised ‘blue’ brand.”

Anne-Cecile Turner, Director of the Multi One Attitude Foundation: “The Multi One Attitude Foundation , that uses sailing to bring people together to protect water, is an ideal partner for TBS. The brand will build on the  Foundation’s work and  image to develop products and production methods that are environmentally sustainable. The profits from the sale of the collection RACE FOR WATER will be used to develop initiatives, education and action around two major water challenges: ocean plastic pollution and water footprint reduction.”

Franck David, Executive Director of Multi One Design: “We are very proud to join the Multi One Championship with TBS whose history is so strongly linked to sailing. Pioneers in many fields, TBS has always led the way for 30 years, partnering with so many renowned sailors. To have at our side, a dynamic brand that is focused on international development and who understands and shares our values, means that we can only go forward together!”

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2nd Rolex Volcano Race, May 19-25, 2012

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

The second edition of the Rolex Volcano Race taking place from May 19 to 25, 2012 in the Tyrrhenian Sea is supposed to welcome twenty-two Maxi yachts measuring more than 18.29m/60ft in length. This popular race marks the start of Rolex’s fascinating Mediterranean yachting season.

Swan 90 sailing yacht DSK PIONEER INVESTMENTS

Swan 90 sailing yacht DSK PIONEER INVESTMENTS Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

In contrast to last year’s inaugural event when one race took place, three segments will be contested, commencing in the form of a day’s inshore racing on Saturday 19 May in Gaeta, a seaport on the Italian mainland located approximately halfway between Rome and Naples. During the second segment, beginning on Sunday 20 May, the fleet tackle Leg One of the 400-nautical mile offshore race, a 100-nautical mile voyage from Gaeta to Capri through the Pontine Islands. On arriving in Capri, the fleet will berth on the island for the night of Monday 21 May before attacking the most arduous segment of the week the following day. A 300-nautical mile adventure around the volcanic, UNESCO-protected Aeolian Islands awaits. The overall winner of this last section will take the plaudits at the finish line back in Capri, receiving the coveted Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the iconic La Canzone del Mare.

18.57m WILD JOE yacht

18.57m WILD JOE yacht Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

An intriguing contest is ahead. Of the 22 registered entrants, 11 different nationalities are represented. The bulk of the fleet is formed of Mini Maxi yachts measuring 18.29-24.08 metres in length. Nine of the 13 crews that took part in last year’s inaugural race have committed to return: the rise in the size of the fleet and high volume of returning crews proves the race is an enticing prospect.

Of the larger yachts, Filip Balcaen’s 112ft sailing yacht Nilaya (BEL), launched last year, will be amongst the most eye-catching craft. With experienced tactician Bouwe Bekking calling the shots the crew impressed in winning the Supermaxi class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in 2011. Close competition is guaranteed in the shape of Claus-Peter Offen’s 100ft Wally superyacht Y3K (GER), winner of its category for three straight years at the same event, in the hands of a honed and savvy crew who have enjoyed sustained success for over a decade.

18m luxury yacht GRANDE ORAZIO

18m luxury yacht GRANDE ORAZIO Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Not only is Offen owner and skipper of the luxury yacht Y3K, he also acts as President of the International Maxi Association (IMA), the event organisers, and is therefore particularly enthusiastic about the event. “In terms of the environment, the race course takes us to one of the most enthralling sailing areas in the world,” he explains. “We are all looking forward to this event and finishing in Capri will be very exciting.”

“Wherever we are competing in the Mediterranean there is tremendous competition. The Rolex Volcano Race will be no exception,” continues Offen. “I expect rather light to moderate winds. Under these conditions tactical decisions will play an important role – as will a little bit of luck. This race takes us through the night with tricky, thermal wind conditions resulting from the changing land and sea breezes. A big lead can turn into a big loss in no time. You have to be cool and patient.”

RP Custom 60 yacht WILD JOE

RP Custom 60 yacht WILD JOE Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

As is form at an IMA event, there will be a significant presence of Swan yachts. Six are set to feature. One of these is returning entrant, Danilo Salsi’s DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA), the consistent sailing yacht Swan 90 and another class winner at last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and sure to benefit from the experience of the 2011 race when she was the closest rival to eventual winners Alegre (GBR). The array of international crews also features Armeigin 3 (POR), Arobas (FRA), Bronenosec (RUS), Caol Ila (USA), E1 (AUT), Jethou (GBR), Vertical Smile (DEN) and Wild Joe (HUN). Twelve Italian crews complete the roster including Ernesto Gismondi’s Wally 65 Edimetra yacht, a regular on the Rolex sailing circuit, and Marco Rodolfi’s elegant Swan 80 yacht Berenice Bis featuring a crew that performed both at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2011.

Swan 60 yacht VERTICAL SMILE

Swan 60 yacht VERTICAL SMILE Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

A fascinating contest is in store, comprising a finely-matched, balanced fleet with navigators and tacticians – including former America’s Cup sailors of the calibre of Brad Butterworth, Tommaso Chieffi and Tiziano Nava – currently preparing in earnest for the various meteorological challenges that await them when negotiating Europe’s most volcanic region.

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Reflections on Naples AC World Series

April 20, 2012

Written by zuzana

With the AC World Series in Naples just finished and the next race in Venice starting in a month, this period gives a good possibility to take a breath and reflect on what happened during the past week.

AC fans gathered to greet their heroes

AC fans gathered to greet their heroes - Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

Quite simply, the AC World Series hit a new level in Naples. On and off the water.

On the water, the racing was phenomenal. There were nine crews competing, the same as in the first three events, but the addition of the two Luna Rossa crews raised the competitive bar considerably. Clearly, Chris Draper and his Luna Rossa Piranha team, despite protestations to the contrary, arrived in Naples ready to challenge the series leaders. With a win in the Fleet Racing Championship and a second place finish behind Artemis Racing in the Match Racing, the new Italian team served notice there’s another crew to be reckoned with at the top.

“We thought before the event if we gave ourselves the opportunities, we could go well,” Draper said. “But we honestly didn’t have huge expectations, so to come away with a first and a second is awesome… The AC World Series is a really useful stepping stone for us, we see it as something very useful and we look forward to taking these lessons into the AC72.”

It was a win in the high-scoring final race on Sunday that assured Draper of the overall victory, but he didn’t come out of nowhere to steal the championship. Piranha entered the final race sitting in third place, with a string of solid finishes in the first six races. Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand started Sunday with a solid, but not insurmountable lead, built off four wins in the first six races. But a seventh place in race five left the Kiwis vulnerable and after getting locked out at the starting line in the final race, and pushed back into the second row, the Kiwis could only watch as their hard work over the week came to naught.

Draper was denied ‘the double’ as ORACLE Racing’s Jimmy Spithill calls the feat of winning the Match and Fleet Racing, by Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing, who finished the week tremendously, after starting it horrifically. First, the start. In strong conditions on the first day of racing, Artemis capsized and severely damaged their wing sail. Hutchinson, understandably, was distraught when he came ashore, but determined to be ready for racing the next day.

Following an all night session by the Artemis shore crew, the team was ready to go again the next day, but scoring no points on the first day put the team at the bottom of the seedings for the match racing, No matter. Artemis dispatched China Team on Thursday, before knocking off Emirates Team New Zealand on Friday to advance to the semi final. A win over the Swordfish team put Hutchinson into the Match Racing Final, where he dispatched the second Luna Rossa crew. Four consecutive sudden-death match wins made Artemis Racing an undisputedly worthy Match Racing Champion.

“We faced four really formidable teams all the way through this,” Hutchinson said after securing the title, making special note of an improving China Team, his first victim. “On Wednesday (after that capsize) if you you had told me that we’d be standing here having won the match racing part of the regatta, we would have taken it. I think I probably hate losing a lot more than I like winning, so it’s nice to be smiling on Sunday.”

This was the best Match Racing finish for Hutchinson and his team, who had been steady, if unspectacular, in scoring 3-3-4 over the previous three AC World Series events. That has changed. The win, combined with poor results by ORACLE Racing Spithill (7th) and Emirates Team New Zealand (who Artemis defeated to knock into 8th place) vaults the Swedish team to the top of the overall Match Racing leaderboard.

If the competition on the water was at an all-time high, off the water, Naples was a mind-blowing experience. The crowds were like nothing previously seen at an AC World Series event (or indeed, other sailing events). Organizers estimated crowds of over 500,000 through the Race Village over the course of the event (and more than double that along the extended waterfront), including a massive turnout on the holiday Easter Monday and again on the final Sunday. Despite the rain, the huge interest meant the sailors were living the full rock-star experience, mobbed anytime they walked through the Race Village wearing team gear.

ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill, popular in Italy after a previous stint with Luna Rossa summed it up well: “It’s just incredible, the people are so into their sport and their sailing teams. I can’t wait for Venice, I think it’s going to be fantastic.”

Venice is the penultimate event of the 2011-12 AC World Series and on the overall Series leaderboard, which combines results in the Fleet and Match Racing Championships from each event, ORACLE Racing Spithill has now overhauled the Kiwis to lead by just one point, with Artemis Racing closing in from third place. Behind, just one point separates Energy Team, Team Korea and ORACLE Racing Bundock.

It will be the same talented nine crews from Naples racing in Venice. Green Comm Racing, who had previously advised organisers it would not sail in Naples, has now withdrawn its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup and will not participate again in the America’s Cup World Series.

2011-12 America’s Cup World Series Championship – Leaderboard

1    ORACLE Racing – Spithill…67 points
2    Emirates Team New Zealand…66
3    Artemis Racing…54
4    Energy Team…48
5    ORACLE Racing – Bundock…47
5    Team Korea…47
7    China Team…26
8    Luna Rossa – Piranha…19
9    Luna Rossa – Swordfish…12

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Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race: Day 6 – The Scoring Gate almost reached

April 19, 2012

Written by zuzana

Reaching the Scoring Gate, the Clipper 11-12 Race yachts are tightly packed, promising some exciting competing. The more westerly yachts are closest to the western end of the gate with less than 100 miles to pass and, assuming the wind holds up, should be able to achieve it within the next 24 hours.

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit Abner KingmanonEdition

Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race Credit: Abner Kingman/onEdition

However it is not a compulsory mark of the course and some teams may decide to forego the temptation of the additional points on offer in favour of staying in the narrow corridor of wind to speed them on their way to greater riches at the finish line.

For two of the teams, devastating spinnaker wraps have blighted their race in the last 24 hours.

Flavio Zamboni, skipper of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, describes how he and his team dealt with the situation on board.

“Yesterday evening, just after sunset, we had another wrap in the medium weight spinnaker which required all night to get sorted.

“The first attempt at sorting it out was, as usual, sailing the boat on the opposite gybe to reverse the air circulation behind the main. We hadn’t realised, though, that the spinnaker was not just wrapped around itself and both stays but it was, in fact, snugged underneath the point where the inner forestay attaches to the mast. That was preventing the spinnaker itself from moving freely and getting unwrapped.

“Unfortunately, while sailing on the opposite gybe we crashed gybed twice and on one occasion the central winch in the snake pit must have got caught by the vang, resulting in the drum being ripped off its base.

“The second attempt was going up the rig to release the head and on the outboard end of the pole to release the tack, hoping that that would allow the kite to spin more freely.

“That was not the case so the third attempt was to go back up to untwist it manually, turn by turn. I was up the rig for hours wrestling the bloody thing trying to get it undone. For the best part of that time it looked like I was winning until I got to a point where the kite was so tightly wrapped I really wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing to get it undone.

“I got to the stage I couldn’t think straight any more, was drenched in sweat and getting cold and was starting to suffer from cramps, too. So I asked the guys to take me down to have a bit of a break and plan the next move.

“I thought that, because of the way the kite was hanging from the forestay, securing a line to its head to retrieve it and one loose and working the twists from the bottom could possibly work. When the on watch crew sent me up the mast for the third time at first light I was not looking forward to it, I must confess. Good news was about to come, though. In fact, as I reached the top of the wrap and started hauling in the head to secure it to a line fed from the deck the whole thing just fell off along the forestay! As soon as that happened the guys were all over it, steering the boat to avoid running it over and retrieving it from the water, virtually undamaged!

“When they lowered me down on deck it was all happening to get the boat fully powered up again and start chasing the rest of the fleet. Last night’s crew effort and attitude was outstanding and, after recovering from such a difficult situation, morale on board is higher than ever.”

Singapore’s crew can take heart from Edinburgh Inspiring Capital’s recovery… they too are battling their own spinnaker demons.

“As I type we currently have two crew members up the rig trying to sort out a monster kite wrap,” Ben Bowley tells the Race Office this morning. “I can’t begin to explain my frustration at what is costing us nearly three miles per hour on our competitors. The wrap has been in for at least an hour now and at the rate things are going we shall be lucky to have the kite down by dawn. Our dream sail has turned into a messy nightmare of twisted sails, halyards and rigging. I can’t type for long as my first priority is to get this sail sorted before it causes yet more damage. Wish us luck.”

So far the team has not suffered too badly, still in fifth place, but they will need to ensure the situation is remedied quickly to avoid further losses.

In addition to the spinnaker wraps, today has seen something of a shake up in fleet positions. As they approach the dog leg in the course the distances to finish (DTF) are calculated via a waypoint off Cabo Frio at the southern end of the Baja California peninsula to avoid DTF being calculated in a straight line across land.

“Two yachts in particular have shown bold moves,” notes Welcome to Yorkshire’s skipper, Rupert Dean. “In contrast to the majority of the fleet on port gybe, De Lage Landen has run for some time on starboard, transforming her position as most easterly boat in the fleet to being central and west of us. Sailing the other direction is Gold Coast Australia which has hardened up on port and headed radically inshore to occupy De Lage Landen’s former outpost. It’s anyone’s guess as to what is going on in Richard Hewson’s canny mind at present. Perhaps he intends to play the land sea breezes closer inshore. As with all of us, he will be weighing up the risks of positioning for points at the short term Scoring Gate, against those from the longer term race result.

“As the yachts jostle for position in the approaches to the Scoring Gate, playing their ‘chess moves’ one by one, the fleet is starting to compress, which will make for very exciting racing indeed. Certainly on Welcome to Yorkshire the sense of urgency is palpable and the crew have been trimming like mad to get every available fraction of a knot out of the light winds around us. Isn’t that what’s racing all about?”

Richard sheds some light on his team’s decision to head inshore, although is keeping quiet about whether they will make an assault on the Scoring Gate or bypass it altogether.

He says, “Gold Coast Australia began the day with good wind from the north west that gradually eased throughout the day. The tactical decision was made to head closer into the coast in search of wind and as we sailed higher angles to the rest of the fleet we were making good speed to the east.

“We passed 13nm astern of De Lage Landen around midday and continued to the east while De Lage Landen sailed to the south towards the Scoring Gate. While the wind has not backed as I was hoping it would, we now have good winds to take us down the coast and hopefully the fruits of our tactics will ripen over the next few days.”

“The fleet is still very tight and nearly everybody in VHF range. This is possibly the closest race of the series so far and everybody is sailing extremely well in the beautiful sailing conditions,” he adds.

Geraldton Western Australia has now assumed the lead, just a mile ahead of De Lage Landen, their focus on keeping the boat moving as fast as possible paying off as they make their run for the gate.

“The same patterns have been appearing over and over again,” says Juan Coetzer. “However the wind is going to die off eventually. Another day, another kite peel and a gybe. The crew are getting to grips with these complex evolutions, and doing them well. We have made up some good ground by sticking away from the island. At the moment it seems to be a big sprint for the Scoring Gate and the boat that keeps moving will be the one to reap the rewards.”

Stuart Jackson explains how the De Lage Landen crew have been able to maintain their position as one of the front runners in the decreasing wind.

“The race to the gate is hotting up with all the fleet closing in rapidly, so only time will tell whose tactics will pay off for the sought after points. Unfortunately this evening the breeze has died off significantly and we are having to sail angles closer to the wind to keep any reasonable boat speed. It looks like we are in for a few days of light winds now so even greater concentration is going to be needed to keep the boat moving.”

“Today has been much more productive from a sailing point of view and we have had much good use out of our lightweight spinnaker,” reports the man in charge of Visit Finland, Olly Osborne. “The breeze has been pretty consistent and everyone is working really hard to get the most out of the small amount of gradient wind.”

The Finnish team has recovered from their own spinnaker problems earlier in the race to begin moving up through the rankings again. And Qingdao has also benefitted from their westerly position in the ten-strong fleet racing towards Panama.

“Our tactic of staying offshore before gybing in seems to have started to pay dividends as we have moved back up the leader board but, with the fleet so close, it could all easily change as we see the various different plans unfold,” comments skipper, Ian Conchie. “For the moment we feel we are well placed to keep pushing on to try and achieve a good result but the wind can be a fickle master. We just sailed through a very light patch and try as we could we couldn’t match the speed that Singapore held for the same time which serves as a warning for us.

“All eyes are on the Scoring Gate now as everyone wants the extra points but has to decide if it is tactically worth it or better to focus on overall race strategy.”

That’s the thinking on board New York where skipper, Gareth Glover, admits his team is unlikely to make it to the Scoring Gate in the top three so their attention is on the bigger picture.

“We have been racing under the same kite all day with Visit Finland just a few miles away. The focus has been on helming and trimming which the crew have been at non-stop all day, trying to work fractions of a knot from New York, trying to keep Visit Finland at bay and catch up the front runners before the Scoring Gate.

“There is only 140nm to the western end of the gate from our position at this time and it looks like we will not get there in the top three from where we are so we are now looking past the gate and putting ourselves in a better place for when the wind goes lighter still.”

“There is some great racing going on out here!” according to Derry-Londonderry skipper, Mark Light. The team representing the UK City of Culture 2013 went into Stealth Mode at 1800 yesterday and will reappear on the Race Viewer at 1800 UTC today.

“The winds are very light and full concentration is required at all times,” he continues. “We are currently surrounded by Clipper 68s: De Lage Landen, Singapore, Qingdao and Welcome to Yorkshire are all visible on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) and none more than 14nm away from our position.

“We are flying our lightweight spinnaker and full main while trying every trick in the book to squeeze every ounce of speed from our boat. Tonight the winds are very fickle indeed and it is also very dark making helming even more difficult. Due to wind shifts and tactics we have already performed two spinnaker gybes in the last four hours and will probably carry out a third before daybreak.

“We are currently operating under our cloak of invisibility for 24 hours and are doing all we can to outfox the competition. It is strange to be in Stealth Mode and to see the odd flicker of tri-colour lights dotted randomly around our horizon. We should also be within reach of the Scoring Gate later today – providing what little wind we have stays with us – and it is clear that it is going to go right down to the wire!”

In long distance ocean racing, where the teams are at the mercy of Mother Nature, nothing is ever a foregone conclusion. One thing is certain, however: with 2,300 miles still to cover in the race from Oakland to Panama, it’s still all to play for.

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Extreme Sailing Series – Act 2 Qingdao: The Wave, Muscat extends its lead on the penultimate day

April 19, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The Wave Muscat, extends its lead going into the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series – Act 2 Qingdao. Ian Williams and his crew also had an excellent day, moving from 5th overall yesterday to 3rd, increasing the hopes of the team to get onto the podium for the first time. Following eight close races on Fushan Bay, only 10 points separate the top 3 boats going into the final day of Act 2.

Action onboard GAC Pindar on day 3 - Photo lloyds Images

Action onboard GAC Pindar on day 3 - Photo lloyds Images

On the first day of racing in Qingdao, The Wave, Muscat’s Leigh McMillan said the team were ‘scratching their heads’ as they tried to figure out the tricky conditions – and today it certainly seem like they had it sussed, coming out all guns blazing to win the opening two races, leaving them tied on points with Red Bull Sailing Team. It was a game of cat and mouse between Austria and Oman for the first five races with Red Bull Sailing Team temporarily regaining control in race 18, but in the next race The Wave, Muscat overhauled them, putting an end to their reign at the top of the leaderboard.

Close racing on day 3 in Qingdao - Photo credit Lloyds Images.

Close racing on day 3 in Qingdao - Photo credit Lloyds Images

A frustrated, but still optimistic, Hagara said: “It was not our best day, we had some really bad starts and it was really hard picking the right shifts and gusts on the racecourse so we made a lot of mistakes. But it’s good that we’re still in there and tomorrow it’s a big day. We try to be up until the last race and then we’ll see who is going to win.  Everybody has their ups and downs, and we had our ‘down’ today so, hopefully, we’ll have our ‘up’ tomorrow!”

Going into the final race of the day, The Wave, Muscat had an unassailable lead but only have a slender point advantage going into the final day: “It is very close for the top 4 or 5 so anyone can take it. 10-12 points doesn´t mean anything in this kind of racing. If we sail well we will have the chance to win so that´s what we need to do,” said McMillan.

Fleet racing in Qingdao day 3 - Photo Lloyds Images

Fleet racing in Qingdao day 3 - Photo Lloyds Images

Series favourite Pierre Pennec (no doubt cursing his ‘Form Guide’ accolade) and his all French team on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild looked like they were on form for the opening two races today but it quickly turned nasty when they got stuck on a mark and had to watch the rest of the fleet sail on. Things didn’t improve much for the team in the next race, who were penalized for a false start leaving them lagging in eighth place. A win in the final race provided some consolation for Pennec, who also celebrated his birthday today, but not much as the team slip a place to fifth overall – 1 point shy of Oman Air.

At the other end of the fleet, the two new teams on the start line China Team and SAP Extreme Sailing Team have struggled against the more experienced Extreme 40s, and are in 9th and 8th respectively. Alinghi are 10 points clear of SAP Extreme Sailing Team but will have a hard task to catch 6th placed Loick Peyron on ZouLou who sailed consistently at the top end of the fleet today and hold a 12 point lead over the Swiss.

Onboard action from SAP Extreme Sailing Team - Image credit Lloyds

Onboard action from SAP Extreme Sailing Team - Image credit Lloyds

The city of Qingdao has undertaken a huge marketing campaign around the event with billboards lining the streets from the airport to port.  Today Qingdao TV broadcast the race coverage live which in turn was syndicating to 11 other channels, including the hugely popular Beijing TV.

The official Series weather forecasters, WetterWelt, has forecasted light winds and a risk of fog tomorrow, meaning the teams will have to be slick in their tactics to make gains on the racecourse. There are plenty of points still to play for and the all important double-points final race decider, giving plenty of opportunities for the teams to make their final bid for victory.

Onboard with The Wave, Muscat's Leigh McMillan - Photo credit Lloyds

Onboard with The Wave, Muscat's Leigh McMillan - Photo credit Lloyds

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 2, Qingdao, China standings after Day 3, 22 races (19.4.12)
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan / Ed Smyth / Pete Greenhalgh / Hashim Al Rashdi / Rachel Williamson 190 points

2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matthew Adams / Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche 131 points

3rd GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley / Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh 129 points

4th Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree / Nasser Al Mashari / Max Bulger 125 points

5th Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Hervé Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Romain Petit 125 points

6th ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron / Philippe Mourniac / Jean-Sébastien Ponce / Bruno Jeanjean / Patrick Aucour 115 points

7th Alinghi (SUI), Pierre-Yves Jorand / Tanguy Cariou / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / Charles Favre 93 points

8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen / Rasmus Kostner / Pete Cumming / Christian Kamp / Jonas Hviid 83 points

9th China Team (CHN) Phil Robertson / Garth Ellingham / Kit Cheng / Nick Catley / Xiaqun Song 50 points

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